Willie Mays, Baseball, John Shea discussed on The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap
Are a lot of players there. Lot of great athletes in the annals of Sport and American sport in particular. But they're only a few you would really call essential who means something beyond the game who transcend sports. What are those figures? Undoubtedly is Willie mays. He's now eighty nine years old. His career came to an end almost a half century ago. But he's still looms so large in our collective consciousness. Willie mays is the CO author of a book. That has just been released co-authored with John Shea the longtime baseball writer from the Bay the book is titled Twenty Four Life Stories and lessons from the say. Hey Kid it. It is a pleasure to welcome to the show John Shea John. Thank you for being with us. Jeremy My pleasure thank you. I was trying to articulate. Perhaps inelegantly in that introduction. Why Willie mays is is almost Someone who has the power of myth in our society they it. There's still this power to or of Willie mays. How how would you put your finger on it? No you're right I I kind of figure cultural icon American hero in not just a baseball hero or sports hero but an living lights in. Who's with US TODAY? And thankfully opened his heart and memory banks and great knack for storytelling to to me And we were able to put this book together about not just the man but the career and the exemplary life you know guy who inspired millions but also details who inspired him and that is what. We tried to capture in the book. The story of Willie mays Who's born in Nineteen thirty? One came up to the major leagues in Nineteen Fifty One Did all those spectacular things on a ball field I think he was on the in the on Deck Circle In his first year when Bobby Thomson hit the shot heard round the world. Of course the VIC words catch in the fifty four sweep of the Indians. But he's one of those lives that tells us so much about America in the twentieth century as well. How do those stories track each other? American Willie mays you're right. This is A teenager who played with the Black Barons and the Negro Leagues and got signed by the giants. Right after his graduation in data assigned to an all white league the Trenton giants playing in the class. B Interstate League that only the only African American on the team but the entire league. This is nineteen fifty three years after Jackie broke the color barrier and is going into some of these towns here in the same thing. Jackie was hearing and couldn't stay with his teammates couldn't eat with his teammates and a lot of the towns and told me in a moment that I will never forget he said I wondered if it was all worth and my God gave me chills. Because I've been what I mean. No Willie mays and baseball. He could have gone back to the Birmingham and work in the mines like his father did and luckily fortunately for everybody on the planet basically he persevered and overcame and wouldn't let the biggest win and was rookie of the year and fifty one. Nbn fifty four and played twenty two seasons and you know are the best all around player in the history of the game and like we said lived a life that really wasn't like Mickey Mantle who without out at night and corrals and drank heavily and had a certain career because of a bit and Willie took different paths to speaking with John Shea about the new book Co authored with Willie mays twenty four life stories and lessons from the say. Hey Kid and this is a book about The people who influenced him as you said the people that he is influenced as well..